November 23, 1995 in City

Road Name Could Send A Message

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tags:column

I’d love to hear North Idaho’s Nazi king, Richard Butler, giving these directions to his Aryan Nations hideaway:

“Well, (gulp) after you get to Garwood, head south on (gasp) Martin Luther King Jr. (choke) Drive.”

Hey, maybe it could happen. The area’s top racist-busters want to rename Rimrock Road - the rural lane bordering Butler’s headquarters - after America’s slain civil rights leader.

What better way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Nuremburg Trials than to tweak our own Hitler-loving hairballs?

Renaming Rimrock is the brainchild of North Idaho College instructor Tony Stewart.

The longtime human rights advocate says he’s thought of attempting such a name change for several years. He sees it as a tribute to King as well as a message to Butler and the neo-Gestapo goons who follow him.

Stewart finally brought his idea up for discussion after a recent meeting of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations.

All the atta-boys bolstered Stewart. He says he probably will put his proposal up for formal vote at the next meeting.

“I’m willing to get out there and get behind it,” says Task Force president Linda Payne. “It would really be a great thing.”

Of course, a Task Force endorsement won’t necessarily mean Stewart’s plan will happen. Renaming a public road always is a bumpy proposition. There always are people who don’t take easily to change in any form.

Toss in a controversial name like Martin Luther King and there’s guaranteed to be plenty of heartburn.

“With the politics around here, it may be easier to rename the road (after the late black comedian) Redd Foxx,” says Dick Panabaker, chairman of the Kootenai County Commission.

To approve a new road name, Panabaker says, a simple majority of property owners along a road must agree to the change.

A woman at the Kootenai County planning office says it’s far tougher than that. According to her, renaming a road takes 100 percent approval of all affected property owners.

Either way, it’s a safe bet that an old racist like Butler, 77, won’t jump at a chance to live on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Last January, a couple of his dim bulb thugs were seen passing out “Abolish the King Holiday” propaganda outside a meeting for schoolchildren.

Panabaker says he’s no racist, although he’s no fan of Martin Luther King, either. He told me a story about how upset he was when he discovered Seattle had renamed Rainier Way after King.

To his credit, Panabaker says Butler once branded him as a “disgrace to my race.” That happened when Panabaker was Hayden mayor and refused to let Butler hold a skinhead meeting at city hall.

Being a fair-minded muckraker, I telephoned the Aryan compound to get Butler’s reaction to Stewart’s road name proposal.

“Yeah,” says the Aryan receptionist, snickering at me in disbelief. “Thanks for your call.” Click.

Giving the Nazi a second chance, I dialed the Idaho number again and repeated my spiel. “No, really,” I explained. “They really want to rename it Martin Luther…”

“Yeah,” repeated the same receptionist, still snickering. “Sure.” Click.

Richard Butler is a cancer who has done incalculable harm to North Idaho.

The worm-ridden gospel he has spewed for the last 20 years has inspired killers, bombers and thieves. Like a pile of festering roadkill, Butler has attracted swarms of social outcasts who have contaminated our area with their hateful filth.

Changing Rimrock Road to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive may be a long shot, but it’s a spectacular idea.

This is the perfect, non-violent way to honor one great man and show an old scorpion exactly what we think of his poisonous ways.

, DataTimes


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